How Long Will it Take Massachusetts to Pay Unemployment Retroactively?

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If you lose your job and don't immediately file for unemployment insurance benefits, you may wonder if you can receive retroactive payments for the weeks you missed. In most states, including Massachusetts, you usually won't receive retroactive unemployment insurance benefits. However, there are some situations that require Massachusetts to pay retroactive benefits, and the time required to receive these benefits varies based on the circumstances.

About Massachusetts Unemployment

  • To qualify for unemployment insurance benefits in Massachusetts, you must have lost a job from an employer who paid into the unemployment insurance system on your behalf. The maximum time that you can receive benefits from standard unemployment insurance in Massachusetts is 30 weeks. However, if the state or federal government is offering extensions, you can only receive 26 weeks of regular benefits from Massachusetts and must apply for additional benefits through an extension. At the time of publication, claimants can receive compensation up to 50 percent of their previous wages.

Retroactive Benefits

  • If you don't file your initial claim as soon as you are eligible, you typically can't claim benefits for the weeks that have passed. However, there is a one-week waiting period after you lose your job before you can apply for benefits and you can't receive benefits for that week. In most cases, Massachusetts will begin paying unemployment insurance benefits within three weeks of your filing date.

Appealing a Claim

  • The most common situation in which Massachusetts might pay unemployment insurance benefits retroactively is if the state denies your initial claim and you win an appeal. If Massachusetts denies your claim, you must file an appeal within 10 days of the decision. Massachusetts will schedule a hearing and mail you a notification of the time, date and location. If you win the appeal, you may receive retroactive benefits in the mail within a few days of the hearing.

Weekly Filing

  • If Massachusetts denies your initial claim or a subsequent claim and you appeal the decision, you must continue to file weekly claims. If you don't make weekly filings during your appeal, you typically can't receive retroactive benefits if you win the case. If you win the appeal, Massachusetts will send you checks for the weeks you qualified. However, if Massachusetts ever reverses this decision, you must repay the funds.

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